11-year-old girl dies after tree falls on cabin at Camp Livingston in southeast Indiana

Girl dies as tree falls on cabin at Indiana camp
Girl dies as tree falls on cabin at Indiana camp
Posted at 8:36 AM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 08:13:43-04

BENNINGTON, Ind. -- Tina Sandlin knew the storms were bad.

"There was a lot of lightning," she said. "The wind was blowing. It was loud. It rumbled, and power went out a few times."

Sandlin wouldn't learn until later Tuesday morning just how bad it was: Lightning struck a tree at nearby Camp Livingston, a summertime getaway for Jewish kids from all over the Midwest. A tree fell on one of the cabins, and Jadyn Larky, an 11-year-old girl from Columbus, Ohio, was killed.

Sandlin works at the closest grocery store to the camp, a few miles down the road.

"I mean, I can't imagine what the parents are going through right now," she said.

PHOTOS: Cabin crushed by falling tree

The Switzerland County Sheriff's Department said it got the call for help at about 2:21 a.m. Emergency services arrived just after the accident, but Larky didn't survive. She was pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff's department said.

Camp officials said three adult counselors were in the cabin at the time. No other children or staff were injured. The lightning-struck tree was a healthy one until Tuesday's storms took it down, according to the camp's Facebook page.

A team of grief counselors from Cincinnati were called to assist campers and staff. Slovin and Myers said every child in camp would call home Tuesday to talk with their parents about the tragedy.

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati operates Camp Livingston. Jackie Congedo, Jewish Federation spokeswoman, said no more information would be released Tuesday. There were 130 campers at Camp Livingston on Tuesday, with a total enrollment for summer of 290 campers and 60 staff members.

Jewish Family Services of Columbus is offering grief counseling Tuesday night in Columbus. 

Camp Livingston's website says it has hosted Jewish children ages 7 to 17 for summer camps for more than 90 years. It was founded in 1920 in Indian Hill and moved to Switzerland County in 1969.

There are two villages at the camp: Tel Aviv, with boys' cabins, and Jerusalem, with girls' cabins. Campers come from around the United States and Israel.

The website also says the camp holds drills in all emergency procedures during staff week. Fire and weather drills are held at least once each session with campers.

In 1992, Craig Ryan Brill died after a fire inside a cabin at Camp Livingston. Seven other boys and an adult counselor escaped that fire.

Several rounds of showers and storms passed through Switzerland County Tuesday morning. The tweets below show all the cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the area, the very thing that can hit a tree. You can also see the torrential rainfall that came with this storm.

Finally, winds were gusting as high as 50 mph during the night. The National Weather Service put out special statements regarding Switzerland County at 12:36 a.m. and again at 2:31 a.m. as storms moved through.

IN DEPTH: What the weather was like in Switzerland County

The advisory warned of high winds, very heavy rain and frequent lightning.